Zoom in Regular Zoom out


How to Know You’re Getting a Great Deal for a Property

Posted By Mclain

It is every homebuyer’s goal to successfully get their dream property for a great deal. However, everyone knows as well that this is a lot trickier than it seems.

The home buying process can be arduous and be filled with negotiations. It can be extremely emotional as well. On top of that, you’re dealing with making the commitment of making one of your life’s biggest investments.

All of these can eventually lead you to have buyer’s remorse. The minute your offer gets accepted and you sign the contract, you’ll start doubting the decision that you just made. You will start second-guessing if your offer was too high and if the property is worth the money you’re paying for.

The best way to avoid experiencing buyer’s remorse is through research and preparation. Here is a list of tips you can use to help you determine if the property you’re eyeing is a great deal.


#1 Define what a “great deal” means to you.

Every great victory starts with a great plan. In order to strategically score the dream of your home for a great deal, you have to first define what a great deal means to you.

Is it being able to get a home for 20% less its current market value? Is it finding a home in a specific neighborhood that is within your allocated budget? Could it be having the owner accept your initial offer? Or is it winning over the negotiations?

Real estate deals are always complicated and encompass a lot of different aspects. You are the only person who can precisely define what a great deal means to you as this will depend on what your personal goals and aspirations are in your life. Better than your real estate agent, you have to be decisive on what your priorities are.


#2 Look at comparable properties.

Comparable properties are the properties that are found in the same area or neighborhood with the same size, condition, and amenities.

This means that if you are looking for a 1,500 square-foot property with 5 bedrooms and a patio, then any property within the same area or neighborhood with the same lot size, number of rooms, and patio is a comparable property.

However, if you are unable to find a property that is comparable to what you are looking for, you can also do your research on the neighborhood. You can use the current market prices of other homes in the area to gauge the market value of your chosen property.

You can even try and visit other homes to see what the inside of their homes looks like. From there, you will have more information to determine if the property you’re looking at with its current condition and features is either overpriced or underpriced.

Additionally, you can always ask your real estate agent to help you with your research on comparable properties. Real estate agents can help you with their CMA report or their Comparative Market Analysis report.


#3 Check if the property is “for-sale-by-owner” (FSBO).

When you find a property that you are interested in, one of the first things that you should do is to check if the property is under FSBO.

When pricing a home, a seller’s agent’s commission is usually factored into the pricing of the property. Therefore, if a property is under for-sale-by-owner, then it should have a lower price in order to compensate for the fact that the owner will not have to pay any agent’s commission. The average commission of a seller’s agent is around 2.5% to 3%.

Another reason for checking this is that if a property is under FSBO, chances are, the owner was the one who decided on the price of their home. As homeowners, we can be easily attached to our home and assume that it is worth millions of dollars when it isn’t. This can lead to the property becoming overpriced.


#4 Ask yourself if you can afford it.

One of the easiest telltale signs of whether a property is a great deal or not is if it is within your allocated budget.

The reality is, you can keep on negotiating and throwing offers for a home and ultimately get it for a considerably lower price but if it outside of your budget, it will still not be a great deal. The last thing you’d want to do is to end up in your dream home only to have it taken away from you because you couldn’t pay off your mortgage.

The best way to stop this from happening is to be clear about your finances with your real estate agent. Be decisive about what your maximum budget is and allow your agent to find you the best deal that you can.


#5 Ask for your real estate agent’s opinion.

You hired your real estate agent for a reason and that is because they are experts.

It is highly likely that even without seeing the rest of the neighborhood property prices, your agent will already have a good estimate of the price of a property. Most real estate agents focus on certain areas and choose to become neighborhood experts which is why they should be familiar with all of the factors that play a role in determining the price of a property.

They are familiar with the market conditions as well. Utilize them and trust your real estate agent’s opinion.

How to Prepare Your Home for Showings

Posted By Mclain

For every homebuyer who is aspiring to sell their current home, the process starts with hiring a professional real estate agent. Once you have found the right real estate agent, your journey to selling your home officially begins. But with a saturated market, how do you increase your chances of being able to sell your home faster than your competition?

Just like with any other competition, you can increase your chances of winning through an ample amount of preparation.

When your home is officially listed in the MLS for sale, it is to be expected that potential buyers would want to see your home in person. As the seller, this is the perfect chance for you to showcase your home and its unique features. And in order to further increase your chances of selling, here are a few tips on how to best prepare your home for showings:


#1 Focus on the Curb Appeal

Most homeowners only tend to focus on the interior of the home and are completely oblivious as to how much the exterior of their homes affects the sale. It all starts from the exterior of your home. Once a potential buyer reaches your home, this is the first thing that they notice and you only get one shot at creating a great first impression.

This means that if you have a front lawn, you have to ensure that everything looks properly trimmed and well-maintained. This could also mean having to repaint your home’s exterior to fix any patches that are showing. Everything down to minute details such as your front doorknob.

All these little things already help your potential buyers build an initial impression of what is to be expected for the interior of your home.


#2 Remove any Odors

Odors can be a huge turnoff for potential buyers. Whether it’s an odor coming from your floor carpets or furniture. Maybe you cooked something in your kitchen the night prior to the showing and the odor is still lingering, or maybe you have a pet at home. Any foul odor can completely ruin a sale and scare away buyers.

This rule doesn’t only apply to foul odors, it also applies to scents such as an air freshener or a scented candle.

Although some may think that this enhances their chances of selling, it may actually backfire. Some buyers may not like the scent that you chose or even worse, some buyers might think that you are overcompensating and are trying to mask a foul odor.


#3 Deep Clean Every Inch

When you’re preparing your home for a showing, you don’t simply clean it, you have to deep clean every inch of your home. From your walls to your furniture, windows, appliances, and floors.

You have to ensure that your home is ready for the most observant buyer possible. You can clean one corner of your home and highlight it the most but once a buyer notices even the smallest of detail that isn’t clean, you already run the risk of a buyer backing out.

Furthermore, it is also key to maintain this throughout the entire selling process. You can’t simply clean your home once and just wait for it to be sold. It is possible that it will take weeks or even months for your home to be sold. Therefore, this process should be done and repeated every single time there is a showing.


#4 Showcase Features

Once you have ensured that your home is clean, it’s time for you to focus on the key features of your home.

For most homeowners, the highlight of their home is the kitchen. If you have a large kitchen space then that’s definitely something you should highlight. Just ensure that all of your pantry items, pots, and towels are organized and that your countertop is clean and shiny.

For others, the highlight of their property can be their backyard. You can be creative when showcasing your backyard. Try to bring it to life by placing some furniture and really demonstrate to the buyers how they can utilize the space.


#5 Depersonalize the Space

As hard as it is, it is recommended that homeowners shouldn’t be physically present in the property for showings. The simple reason for this is that your buyers should feel comfortable to voice out their concerns and criticize the property. If the owner is around, they might feel uncomfortable and uneasy.

The second part of depersonalizing the space is to try and remove any personal item from the property. From picture frames with family photos to your kids’ trophies and medals, the goal here is to allow your buyers to imagine living in your property.

The more a buyer is able to imagine themselves living in your home, the easier it’ll be for them to decide and commit.


#6 Make Quick Fixes

The smallest of things can turn off your buyers. Taking the extra steps to make small repairs in your home can mean a huge difference.

You can start by checking if all of your doors are working properly. Are all of the locks and knobs working? Then you can move on to your windows. Are there any broken glass or panels that need to be replaced? Then you can move on to sealing or repainting any small crack or patch.

Making these small repairs can help you sell your home faster and at a much higher price.

Home Maintenance 101

Posted By Mclain

Becoming a homeowner is a lot of responsibility. Whether you own a 3-bedroom home or a 10-bedroom home, you still have to exert effort into maintaining your home because it is your biggest investment. For most, home maintenance can be a daunting task which is why most choose to put it off until the damage has been done. This is especially true for first-time homeowners who have zero to little experience when it comes to home maintenance.

If you are worried about incurring additional expenses, maintaining your home doesn’t have to be outsourced all the time. There are plenty of ways you can help maintain your home without spending extra on hiring people to help you.


#1 Clean your exhaust fans

Exhaust fans are vital in every home. They help get rid of foul odors and excess moisture in your home. If left unchecked, it may not be able to do its job efficiently. When this happens, you run the risk of having molds in your home. Ideally, you should check and clean your exhaust fans once a year. Be sure to check both exhaust fans in your kitchen as well as your bathroom to ensure that all the smell and moisture that builds up in those areas are well swept out by the exhaust fans.


#2 Check your drains

From time to time, our drains get clogged. Most of the time, our drains get clogged over time and not instantaneously. Once you start noticing your drains are slow, manage it immediately. Don’t wait for your drains to be completely clogged. It may be easier to use a drain cleaner than manually unclogging the drain with a wire but it can also damage your drains.


#3 Check the gutters

Gutters are essential as well to every home. Your gutters allow rainwater to flow properly through your home while protecting your roof as well. Ideally, gutters should be checked and cleaned twice a year. However, this will depend as well on the weather and seasons. If left clogged or unclean, the debris clogging your gutters may cause water leakage in your home. If you have a one-story home, then cleaning your gutter should be feasible with a ladder. Just ensure that you’re taking extra precautions when doing so.


#4 Maintain your roof

Roofs are just one of those things that you will eventually have to replace in your home. Most homeowners try to push off roof replacement as it can get extremely costly. However, maintaining your roof well can prolong its lifespan. A well-maintained roof can help you save money as well as this will help with your cooling and heating systems at home. Moreover, a well-maintained roof will also ensure that you are safe from any water damage.


#5 Check for foundation cracks

Another crucial part of a home’s maintenance is checking for foundation cracks. As part of your maintenance, go outside your home and inspect your home’s foundation. Try to look if there are any cracks in the concrete. If you know for a fact that you are going to sell your home in a few years, this is more crucial for you as any small crack can affect the resale value of your home. Should there be small cracks, try to remedy them as much as you can. However, if you happen to see cracks that are troublesome, it’s best to contact a professional and have it checked by a structural engineer.


#6 Repaint your home

If you’re a first-time homeowner, it is not uncommon to think that fixing a paint job for your home is purely for the visual side of it. Your home’s exterior is what can get people interested in buying your home should the time come for that. However, this is inaccurate. Ensuring that your home’s paint job is pristine prevents and protects your home from rotting and water damage.


#7 Replace the batteries of your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors

There are a number of incidents that can cause fires at home. Having a fully functional smoke alarm can prevent that from happening. This is why it is important to ensure that the batteries of your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors are constantly being replaced at least once a year.


#8 Prevent termites infestation

Termites can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare. This is especially true for homeowners with wooden homes. Not only with this decrease the value of your home should you choose to sell it in the future, but this can also pose a safety risk. Should termites find their way to your stairs, one can easily fall or trip. To check for termites, it’s best to start in your basement or to inspect places that are not reached by sunlight. Inspect the wood there by poking it to check if it’s flaky or hallow. Try to seal off as well any gaps where the termites might go through.

Disadvantages of Downsizing

Posted By Mclain

More and more homeowners are now inclined to downsize. There are numerous benefits to downsizing. For one, it’s cheaper. It’s cheaper in the sense that a smaller home will cost less and therefore, leave you with a smaller mortgage. It is also cheaper in the sense that you will have less space to maintain. Your monthly utility bills will also be cheaper as you’ll be using fewer appliances and such. It will be a lot easier to maintain. You’ll have less space to clean and will therefore have more time to spend doing the things you really enjoy.

That being said, downsizing is not for everyone. As great as it sounds, there are also a number of disadvantages to living small. Sometimes, bigger is still better. If you’re someone who is on the fence about downsizing, we’re here to clarify the valid disadvantages of downsizing.


#1 Less Storage

The main disadvantage of downsizing is that you will definitely have less space for your storage. If you are someone who is used to having a lot of storage space, then transitioning to a space that’s smaller may be a bit too difficult for you. This is especially true if you own a lot of items that are precious to you. If you downsize, you might want to consider this as you will eventually have to let go of a majority of your possessions to have everything fit into your new home.


#2 Cash Flow

Although it was mentioned above that one of the main reasons people choose to downsize is because of financial reasons, that may not always be the case. In order for that to happen, you would ideally have to sell your current home faster and at a high price. You would also need to be careful about choosing where you will move. Different neighborhoods and communities have different real estate markets. If you’re thinking about moving into an expensive neighborhood, then that would definitely affect your cash flow. Remember to consider these things and to adjust your expectations accordingly.


#3 Fewer Rooms

Smaller homes will more or less have fewer rooms. This means that you might not be able to accommodate guests. You can no longer entertain out-of-town guests in your home. Whether it’d be having friends over for dinner or hosting dinner parties at your home, it’ll definitely feel cramped. Moreover, if you’re used to your family members visiting you over the holidays, then you might have to reconsider if you really want to downsize.


#4 Social Status

Let’s face it, we live in a world where “bigger is always better”. Although this may not be the case at all times, it is still a belief that most are conscious of. Downsizing regardless of the reason may be looked down upon by society. It may be perceived immediately as you not having enough funding to maintain and live in a huge and comfortable home. This type of thing may be something that you value or worry about. If you are not comfortable about being in a situation as such, maybe you should also reconsider if downsizing is for you.


#5 Change in Lifestyle

Downsizing isn’t merely moving from one home to another. It is also a change in lifestyle. If you’ve lived in a huge home all your life, it may be challenging for you to switch to a small one or two-bedroom home. You have to be mentally and emotionally prepared as well to adapt to the changes of downsizing and living small. If you know that you or your family is not comfortable with changes then it’s definitely something that you should consider as well.


Final Thoughts

Moving from one home to another is already an emotionally and physically taxing process. You are saying farewell to a home you have lived in for years and are now adjusting to a new neighborhood or possibly a city. If you consider all of that, then add on the number of changes and adjustments that you have to make with a much smaller home, it can be extremely difficult. Downsizing isn’t simply a trend. There are a number of reasons as to why more and more people have now downsized, but it is also equally important to weigh in the cons and disadvantages of downsizing when making a decision.

Why You Need to Hire a Real Estate Agent

Posted By Mclain

You’ve decided that you’re going to purchase a home. It’s an exciting time for you and your family. In a digital age when everything can be accessed and bought online or through the internet, more and more homebuyers are now considering buying a home on their own. This can be especially true for homebuyers who are looking to save on additional expenses. Although one can buy a home without a real estate agent, there are a lot of advantages to hiring a real estate agent. On top of having an additional person help you find your dream home, you might even end up saving more money when you have a real estate agent.

In this article, we discuss the advantages of hiring a real estate agent and why you need one in purchasing your next home.


#1 Best value for your money

Having a real estate agent comes in handy in ensuring that you get the best value for your money. When purchasing a home, we all have a working budget. By hiring a real estate agent, you won’t have to guess if the home you’re currently looking at is a great option for your budget. Through experience and knowledge, a real estate agent will be able to determine if a home is priced appropriately. Real estate agents are aware of certain home features that are great investments. Furthermore, they know how to best conduct research on a home. They are familiar with the neighborhoods in the area and have great insight into the current market conditions in the area.


#2 Access to Homes

As mentioned above, real estate agents are experts and are therefore more familiar with the neighborhood. This is a great reason to hire an agent because this means that they have more access to home listings in an area. Real estate agents are most often neighborhood experts. They know the local market. And although you can access home listings online, there are still a number of home sellers who opt to not list their homes online and keep their business private. Having a real estate agent can give you more access to these listings.


#3 Faster Process

If you’re someone who has tried going through this process, you would know that the home buying process can get extremely tedious. It can take up a lot of your time and unless you can dedicate a huge portion of your daily hours to this project, it can take you a really long time to move forward. On the other hand, having a real estate agent means that you have someone who is completely dedicated to helping you go through this process. Their job is to constantly attend open houses and events to potentially find your dream home. Moreover, real estate agents can assess a home faster and can therefore save you time from thinking about a home that is underqualified.


#4 Better Negotiation

Not everyone is able to find the perfect home. Every home buyer should know that there will always be a compromise involved in this process. Having a real estate agent makes it easier for you to negotiate when things are not completely what you expected. Real estate agents are more familiar with the red flags in every home listing. They are more familiar with the necessary repairs needed upon a home inspection and how much these repairs would cost. Furthermore, they know the proper steps to getting home repairs done and would be more experience in negotiating with the owners or seller’s agent. This will ensure that you are going to get the value of what you’re paying for.


#5 Handling Paperwork

If there’s one thing that is guaranteed with the home buying process, it is that there will be a lot of paperwork involved. From deeds to affidavits, to request for repairs, handling the paperwork alone can take up a lot of your time. Not having a good understanding of the paperwork can delay your buying process and push back your timeline. On top of that, organizing all of the paperwork to ensure that you have everything can also be a huge hassle. A real estate agent can help you stay on track by ensuring that you have everything you need to push through with the process. Given that they are more familiar with the process, they know which documents are needed and which signatures have to go where.


Final Thoughts

These are only a few of the many reasons why hiring a real estate agent to help you find your dream home is the smart decision. If your main reason is to save on money, then it’s probably time for you to reconsider this option. The amount of money you’ll spend paying your real estate agent’s fees and commissions may end up costing you a lot more trying to find and do everything on your own.

Common Pitfalls When Selling a Home

Posted By Mclain

Selling your home can be an extremely challenging process and this is especially true for first-time sellers. Most first-time sellers fail to recognize the amount of time one has to dedicate in order to successfully sell a home. On top of that, it’s is also an emotionally taxing process. Imagine having strangers come into your home, which you’ve grown to love over the years, and have them criticize it? This goes for both first-time and seasoned sellers. Selling your home will always be challenging and one simple mistake can make or break a deal.

However, this process can be a lot easier if you are aware of the common mistakes and pitfalls most homeowners encounter when trying to sell their homes. Once you are able to anticipate these problems and mistakes, you will be able to handle them better should you encounter them. In this article, we listed the common mistakes and pitfalls most homeowners encounter when selling a home. Read on to learn more.


Pitfall #1: Letting emotions get the best of them

As mentioned above, this process can get extremely emotional. For most homeowners, their home is their most prized possession. Other than the financial aspect, over some time, a home can hold a lot of memories that we’ve shared with the people that we love. It is not impossible that we are now emotionally attached to our home. When strangers begin to criticize your home, it can be rough. But again, just one wrong response can break a deal.

So how do you keep your emotions in check? There are two ways to go about this. The first option is to recall your experience when you were the buyer. Buying a home is just as stressful and exhausting as selling a home. This mindset will help you empathize with the prospects. The second option is to change your mindset. Once you have decided to sell your home, instead of thinking of yourself as the homeowner, switch your mindset to that of a businessperson. Treat it as a business transaction. This will help you stay rational throughout the process.


Pitfall #2: “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO)

Another pitfall most homeowners commit is opting to sell their own homes instead of hiring a real estate agent. Most homeowners choose to sell their own homes because they don’t want to pay an agent their fees and commissions. Although that may be true, what usually ends up happening is that these homeowners spend money as well trying to market their property. Hiring a great agent can save you from committing all of these mistakes.

On top of that, they know the market better. Their market and industry knowledge can allow you to sell your home faster. They know when a prospect is the right prospect or not. A great real estate agent is also the best mediator. You wouldn’t have to deal with as much emotional stress as the real estate agent becomes the rational party in the transaction.


Pitfall #3: Unrealistic Pricing

One of the most common pitfalls of homeowners is setting an unrealistic price for their home. In fact, if you were to ask real estate agents, most of them would tell you that overpricing your home is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when trying to sell your own home. If you have experience buying a home with an agent before, you would be familiar with a CMA or comparative market analysis. Chances are, your buyers will also be getting the CMA report from their agents.

Overpricing your home can easily break the deal. Most first-time sellers do not recognize the advantage of pricing your home on the lower end. Pricing your home on the lower end can attract more buyers. When there are a number of buyers, negotiations start. And when the negotiations start, you now have the upper hand. This, ideally, will lead to the price of your home increasing.


Pitfall #4: Skipping Major Repairs

Lastly, most homeowners tend to skip making major repairs to their homes before selling. They are not willing to spend extra money on making repairs in a home that they won’t be living in. Although on paper that makes sense, skipping on major repairs can actually have major repercussions as well. For one, this can easily turn off prospects. Imagine walking into a home and seeing that there are broken windows or heating systems. When you’re trying to sell your home, your goal is to make it the most presentable version that you can. Major repairs can also delay the sale of your home as buyers would be waiting on them to get fixed before moving on. On top of all that, having major issues with your home can give the buyers the upper hand when it comes to negotiating. This can ultimately lead them to ask for a lower price. Therefore, skipping on making the repairs will only cost you more in the long run.

Common Pitfalls When Buying a Home

Posted By Mclain

Buying a home is a life-changing decision that involves a lot of time and consideration. Throughout the buying process, it is possible for homebuyers to feel overwhelmed or to get distracted along the way. On top of that, it is also an emotional process. This is especially true for first-time homebuyers. It can be easy for most to commit mistakes and possibly not end up with the property that they really want. This is why it is important for homebuyers to be aware of the common pitfalls most commit when trying to find the home of their dreams.

In this article, we list the common pitfalls homebuyers make when buying a home. Hopefully, through this article, you can avoid these pitfalls and have a great buying experience.


#1 Not having a working budget

One of the most common pitfalls homebuyers fall for is not having a working budget. Most buyers simply rely on their accountants or their banks to tell them their budget. But in reality, just because the banks tell you that you can afford it doesn’t mean that it’s the right budget for you. This is simply because, at the end of the day, you’re the only person who can know the amount that you’re comfortable with spending. On top of that, you have a clearer picture of your monthly bills and your living expenses. You have to remember that on top of paying your mortgage, you still have a long list of monthly bills that you have to keep up with; take those into consideration when setting your budget.

Moreover, setting a working and clear budget can help you eliminate a number of listings right from the get-go. Again, buying a home can be highly emotional, one can easily get carried away with stunning properties. If you don’t have a clear working budget, you might end up buying a home that you can’t afford.


#2 Getting distracted by shiny objects

Another pitfall that homebuyers can commit is getting distracted by shiny objects. Shiny objects can be anything from the interior, the furniture, the overall design of a home. Although noticing these details is great to see the potential of a home, it can also distract the buyer from focusing on the quality of the property.

Instead of solely focusing on what the property looks like when it’s all dressed up, a homebuyer must first focus on the foundation of the property. Inspect the property thoroughly. Check if the integral structure of the property is still in good condition. Look for issues that can cause major problems in the future or might need repairing. A home can easily be made up to attract buyers, but it’s the quality of a home that buyers must focus on.


#3 Shopping without an agent

If you’re a serious homebuyer, you need an agent. The pros of having an agent definitely outweigh the cons. It does not matter how well-versed you are in your finances or even in real estate, you need an agent. Buyers who shop around without an agent typically end up paying more for the property than they would have if they have hired an agent. Skipping on hiring an agent to save money on their fees is not worth can only work to your disadvantage in the long run.


#4 Focusing on finding the perfect home

It is normal for homeowners to create a checklist of the things that they’re looking for, that dream home. Everybody wants to find their perfect home, but focusing too much on finding the perfect home can be your downfall. When shopping around, you might find a good property that checks most of the boxes on your checklist but it’s missing an item or two. Don’t immediately rule out this property. The reality is, your perfect home might not exist at all.

If you hold out for too long, trying to find a home that checks all of your boxes, you might be foregoing your chances of buying a great property. As long as there are more checks than misses, you should definitely take that into consideration. Conversely, you must also not rush into making a decision. As much as you shouldn’t wait for the perfect property, you must also put in the time to shop around.


#5 Buying when still in doubt

The last pitfall we’ll be discussing is buying a home you’re still unsure about. It cannot be emphasized enough how big of a decision and commitment buying a home is. If after ample consideration, there are still things you’re worried about a property, it’s probably not the right property for you.

Home Security: How to Make Your New Home Safer

Posted By Mclain

Whether you’ve been living in your home for several years or decades now or have recently moved to a new home, home security is always of utmost importance. Here are simple tips you can follow to ensure that you and your family are safe in your homes:


#1 Secure the Doors

If you have recently moved into a new house, be sure to change all the locks. Just because you trust the previous owners doesn’t mean that they were completely safe and cautious of their actions; there is still a possibility that someone aside from the owners might have access to the keys or codes. On the other hand, if you’ve lived in the property for a long time, try to reinforce your locks from time to time to ensure that it still holds.

At the same time, it is also important that you remember to always lock your doors. Regardless of the time of the day, you must remember to deny intruders access to your home at all times. At night, remember as well to lock the doors inside your house so that in case a burglar is able to break into your home, you and your family are still safe inside the rooms.


#2 Keep it Bright

Burglars and intruders hate nothing more than to be seen in light. Installing ample lighting in your front and back yard can help keep intruders away. Try investing in motion lighting, but if you’re worried about your monthly electricity bills, it is best to invest in quality solar-powered lights.


#3 Lock Your Windows and Garage Doors

Most burglars enter a home either through an unlocked window or garage door. It is not enough that you check your doors, but you must also be vigilant in checking for any unlocked windows or garage doors. If you have an automatic garage door opener, be sure that you keep it safe and sound and away from strangers who can easily snatch it.


#4 Set Up a Security System

You can either choose to invest in a top-of-the-line security system or have a DIY security system set up. Today, there are a lot of security system options that cater to the majority. Depending on your needs, security systems vary as well in prices and purposes. There are also a number of modern smart home security systems available in the market today. A good tip is for you to conduct proper research prior to purchasing and setting up a security system. You can canvas your neighborhood, do research online, or even ask your local enforcement officers for their professional opinion.


#5 Secure Your Valuables

When all else fails, it is important that your valuables are safely stored. As high-tech as we are today, nothing still beats a good old safe. From jewelry to passports, to documents it is important that you invest in a safe that keeps these valuables from the hands of the burglars. Be sure that your safe is big enough to store everything that you need in there as well as that it’s heavy enough that burglars will be unable to move it. It is also important that you remember to store your firearms in a gun safe. Most burglars find firearms as desirable items.


#6 Mark Your Territory

Whether you prefer having bushes around your yard or actual fences, demarcating your property is also another way of making your home safer. Not only will this fend off burglars or unwanted visitors, but this will also help you to identify easily when someone is already trespassing on your property.


#7 Be Careful Who You Talk To

More than the physical aspect of reinforcing doors, security systems, fences in your home, there are also a lot of other aspects that can help make your home a lot safer. For one, you always have to be mindful of who you’re talking to and the details that you give out. For example, if you’re going on a vacation, it’s best if you only inform people who you truly trust. If this information gets in the hands of the wrong people, your home might be the next burglary target. This applies as well whenever you have workers in your home. If you’re new to the area and are employing new workers, be sure to check their IDs and to verify the names of the workers from the company. Moreover, whether it’d be your plumber, electrician, or carpenter, always be mindful of the information that you share with them.


#8 Secure Your Wi-Fi Network

Albeit a little bit advance, when it comes to your safety and your family’s safety, it’s best to be sure. Only use a secure Wi-Fi network, especially when you have a smart home. Hackers can easily hack Wi-Fi networks now if left unsecured and they may be able to get access to your home security system or other personal information.

Pros and Cons of a House Inspection

Posted By Mclain

Are you planning to sell your home? If you’re planning to sell your home in the near future, you’ve probably heard of home inspection. But what is a pre-listing home inspection exactly? A pre-listing home inspection is when you, the seller, hire a professional to perform a thorough inspection of the state of your home prior to listing it on the market. Usually, once a property is listed in the market, an interested buyer will typically hire a professional as well for another round of home inspection. This is the exact reason why some sellers opt-out of having their own home inspection.

If you’re someone who is on the fence about having a home inspection, we’ve listed out the pros and cons of this process to help you make a more informed decision.



Identifies the Condition of your Home

One of the main advantages of having a pre-listing home inspection is that it reveals the current condition of your home. There are a number of aspects in your home that can be deceiving and it is better to find out the actual condition of your home rather than getting surprised afterward once the buyer has conducted their own inspection.


Cheaper or DIY Repairs

Another advantage of a pre-listing inspection is that it gives you the option to perform the repairs needed yourself. If the inspection report shows that there are minor issues that you know you can easily repair, then that will save you money down the road. Moreover, if the inspection report reveals major issues, you still have the freedom to select the contractor that you trust and is probably cheaper.

On the other hand, if you opt not to have a pre-listing inspection and the buyer is the one who discovers these issues, they might want a different contractor which can cost you more.


More Accurate Pricing

Having a pre-listing home inspection allows you to get a better grip on the worth of the property. If you are blindly pricing your home, you may have a difficult time selling your home. An overpriced home may lead you to have fewer offers, whereas an underpriced home may cause you to lose money from the transaction.

As the inspection report will reveal the condition of your home, you will have a better idea of where your home sits in the market. This will also help you once you have hired a Realtor to assist you in the entire process.


Easier Negotiations

Choosing to have a pre-listing home inspection can save you from having a lot of negotiations with your future buyer. For one, when negotiating, you can use your inspection report as leverage. Another reason for this is that this prevents any surprises during a deal as you would know what the home inspection will reveal and that the results of the inspection have already been considered with the original price of your home.



Additional Expense

The first obvious disadvantage to having a pre-listing home inspection is the additional expense. A typical home inspection will cost you a minimum of $200. Whereas if you opt to just skip a pre-listing inspection and wait for the buyer to request for their own, you wouldn’t need to shell out extra money.


Going Through Two Inspections

As previously mentioned, the buyer will eventually ask for their own home inspection so although it is recommended that you get a pre-listing home inspection, it is not required. There is also a slim possibility that the home inspection report that you get is different from the results received by the buyer. Naturally, the buyer will have to trust their inspection report over yours and you would have lost your leverage.


Full Disclosure

As a seller, you are required to disclose any findings that you are aware of regarding your property. This includes all of the renovations and changes that you have done to the property. By opting to have your home inspected, you are now committing yourself to disclose these findings to the buyer. Regardless if these are minor or major issues, you must now disclose them and this can be a deal-breaker to certain buyers.


In summary, it will ultimately depend on your personal preference. If you’re someone who doesn’t handle stress very well and is someone who needs to know and plan everything, then it might be best for you to have a pre-listing home inspection. However, if these types of situations do not bother you, you can save yourself a couple of hundred dollars by not having one.

How to Make Your Home Kid-friendly

Posted By Mclain

Starting a family is a huge financial commitment in itself and more often than not, first-time parents are unable to find the perfect home to start their family in. Just like with any other commitment we make in life, finding the right house will require you to decide on your wants, needs, and non-negotiables.


If you think you’ve found the right home for you but still wonder if it is suitable for your future family, there are a lot of ways to make your home more kid-friendly than its current state.


Here are some thoughtful ideas to consider: 


Check the Sockets

Check the location of sockets in your home. Sockets are a huge hazard to children as children tend to stick their fingers in holes which is why sockets should be out of their reach. If the sockets are within the reach of children, quality plug sockets are widely available online or in your local hardware. 


Fixed-cushion Sofa

When it comes to your living room, try to look for a fixed-cushion sofa. A fixed-cushion sofa will make your life easier and make your living room look orderly as kids won’t be able to pull out the cushions. 


Rounded Furniture

Sharp corners are extremely dangerous for kids whenever they decide to run and play in your home. Invest in rounded furniture to avoid any serious injury. If buying new furniture is outside your budget area, consider buying corner guards. Corner guards may not be aesthetically pleasing but will do the same job as rounded furniture.


Practical Flooring

Kids are an unpredictable ball of energy which is why your flooring should be practical and durable to wear and tear. Nowadays, there are a lot of alternatives to hardwood flooring. For example, vinyl floorings now look extremely realistic and are extremely cheap which makes them a great alternative to hardwood flooring. 


In addition to the flooring, consider buying area rugs for your living spaces. Kids tend to sit on the floor and purchasing area rugs will make it more comfortable for them. 


Think About the Walls

Kids are notorious for writing on any surface they find and the biggest surface in your home that is accessible to kids are your walls. Imagine living through the nightmare of walking into your living room and discover how your kids have scribbled all over your walls. 


This is why you should consider having semigloss paint. Semi-gloss paint will allow you to easily remove stains from markers and crayons without sacrificing the color of the walls. Another solution to this is to switch to tiled walls which will give you the same results as well.


Mindful Storage

Having kids means having extra knick knacks in your home which can make your home look disorganized. Invest in closed or locked cabinets to avoid adding to the clutter.


Most of the time, we do not have sufficient space in our homes to create additional storage areas which is why it is crucial to be creative in finding storage solutions. One tip is to choose furniture that serves a dual-purpose. For example, there are sofas that have storage underneath the cushion. Also, there are kids tables that have storage as well. These simple solutions will allow you to store more things without the guilt of having it take up space in your home.